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    Entries in Peter Svidler (19)

    Tuesday
    Jul072015

    Svidler on the Archangelsk (Updated)

    For those of you who aren't Chess24 premium members, there's a bit of fresh bait dangling before you in the form of a new opening series by Peter Svidler. This one is the Archangelsk Variation starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5. His two previous opening series, on the Gruenfeld and on the Closed Ruy with 6.d3 (the same moves as above through 5.0-0, then 5...Be7), were both very well-received, especially the one on the Gruenfeld.

    The preview (which is really too short) is here, and to see more there's a choice: buy the series for $14.99, or become a Premium Member for $10.99 a month or $99 a year. (Maybe try it for a month, see how many videos you can watch - there are way more series than just those offered by Svidler - and then go longer if you like them.)

    Update: As Macauley Peterson notes in the comments, there is a substantial clip available to watch for free, here, and it's worth the time to check it out even if you're not particularly interested in either side of the Archangelsk.

    Thursday
    May212015

    Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, Round 6: The Leaders All Win

    Coming into round 6 Fabiano Caruana led the Grand Prix tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk by half a point over Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler, and at the end of the round it's the same story as all three won. (Leinier Dominguez was also tied for second, and should have finished the day in the tie as well.)

    Caruana won a very difficult opposite-colored bishop ending against Alexander Grischuk that saw both players make some mistakes. The evaluation shifted back and forth from betting-to-winning for Caruana back down to a draw, and two moves before the end Grischuk still could have saved the game with perfect play.

    Karjakin's win was both easier, cleaner and shorter, as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave continued his downward trajectory with his third loss in a row. White (MVL) was in reasonable shape when he came up with the idea of 21.Rc1 followed by 22.b4, but this didn't restrict anything Karjakin had in mind on the queenside. Black was soon better everywhere and then material ahead, and the game ended before the players reached the first time control.

    As for Svidler, he was the sole winner with White on the day, defeating Anish Giri's Ragozin in a long game. After a long siege of Black's isolated d-pawn, it dropped off, and many moves later White's passed d-pawn was the hero that won the day. Svidler did allow much of his advantage to slip at various moments, and on move 65 Black probably would have held with 65...Ra7. (One final chance may have come on move 69: ...Ra4 followed by ...Rd4.) Errare humanum est, and Svidler won in 83 moves.

    In the draw department, Boris Gelfand was fortunate - at least on two different stretches - to survive his game with Leinier Dominguez. Evgeny Tomashevsky had the better position for most of his short game with Hikaru Nakamura, but it never reached decisive levels. Finally, Baadur Jobava and Dmitry Jakovenko played an interesting game that saw both players have the advantage at different times, with Jakovenko probably holding the more serious and prolonged chances.

    Round 7 comes tomorrow (Thursday), with these pairings:

    • Caruana (4.5) - Gelfand (3)
    • Jakovenko (3) - Grischuk (2.5)
    • Karjakin (4) - Jobava (2.5)
    • Nakamura (3) - Vachier-Lagrave (1.5)
    • Giri (2) - Tomashevsky (2.5)
    • Dominguez (3.5) - Svidler (4)

    Saturday
    May162015

    Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, Round 3: Caruana, Svidler Win; They Lead With Dominguez

    There haven't been many wins so far in the Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, so when they do it's not surprising that the leaderboard is immediately affected. Evgeny Tomashevsky led after the first two rounds (and should have led with a 2-0 score), but today he came a-cropper against Fabiano Caruana. The American (aaah, it feels good writing that) had him under pressure from the opening, and when Tomashevsky played 25...Qc8? the tactical problems with Black's position left him lost or at least on death's door. The last critical moment came on move 30, when Tomashevsky needed to play 30...Qg4 intending ...Qb4 with a trade of queens. After 30...Bb4 31.e6 the passed pawn proved more than Black could cope with, and Tomashevsky resigned just after the time control.

    The day's other winner was Peter Svidler, who won a nice rook ending against Dmitry Jakovenko. Jakovenko was a co-leader after round 1, but with two consecutive defeats he's now tied for last. The game turned in Svidler's favor on moves 21 and 22 when Jakovenko didn't bring his knight back to c3 (which in turn implies that he shouldn't have removed it from that square on move 20). It's not clear to me what Jakovenko overlooked, and the end result was that he went from being a little better to down a pawn for nothing.

    The other four games were drawn. Baadur Jobava and Boris Gelfand had a very complicated game that may have favored Gelfand most of the way, but it was never easy. Alexander Grischuk had some advantage all the way against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, but doesn't seem to have missed any real winning opportunities. Leinier Dominguez had Black against Sergey Karjakin, but despite that was better pretty much throughout. Indeed, it's not clear why he took a draw at the end, as a well-timed ...g5 would give him persistent pressure against White's e-pawn. (The bishop goes to g7 and a knight to g6 in case White takes en passant.) Finally Hikaru Nakamura vs. Anish Giri was a dud, but a very instructive dud. In a very well-known position of the old main line Giuoco Piano, Nakamura tried the rare 7.Nbd2 (rather than the dull and equal 7.Bd2 or the interesting but more or less bad 7.Nc3), sacrificing first the e-pawn and then the d-pawn with 11.d6. Had Black tried to hold on to the material White would have enjoyed fine compensation, but Giri followed Emanuel Lasker's ancient advice about replying to gambits: take the pawns, and then return them. Giri did so, and the game could have been agreed drawn after 17 moves (at the latest) were it not for the Sofia rules. They duly played a further 13 moves and called it a day.

    Caruana, Svidler and Dominguez lead with 2/3; Giri, Jakovenko and Jobava are in last with 1/3, and everyone else has 1.5 points going into tomorrow's round 4. The pairings are:

    • Gelfand - Giri
    • Dominguez - Nakamura
    • Svidler - Karjakin
    • Tomashevsky - Jakovenko
    • Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana
    • Jobava - Grischuk

    Thursday
    Mar122015

    Peter Svidler's Banter Blitz Session

    This is good for a bit of entertainment. Svidler's clearly tired and not firing on all cylinders, even apart from the difficulty of trying to play and talk at the same time. Still, it's interesting watching him take on all comers while trying to offer the occasional insight.

    Thursday
    Feb262015

    Peter Svidler's Chess24 Series on the Gruenfeld, Now In E-book Format

    Peter Svidler's video series on the Gruenfeld for Chess24 has been widely and correctly praised, and if you play this opening you will want to watch it even if you don't become a premium member of that site. There has been one long-running source of frustration to many of the viewers, however. Svidler sometimes alludes to the "files" where more information was available, but there was no such file. It was coming soon, we were told, but the months went by and no files were in sight.

    In some ways this was very understandable. The Chess24 people have clearly been very busy: they're running a burgeoning playing zone, have commentators for most of the big events, write text articles for the web and every so often add another video series or two to their library. Still, it has been around a year and Svidler's Gruenfeld files had not appeared...until now. The long wait is finally at an end, and you can access (or buy) the e-book series here.

    Saturday
    Feb212015

    Tbilisi Grand Prix, Round 6: Radjabov, Svidler Win; Tomashevsky Still Leads by a Point

    The relative standings at the top are almost identical to what they were coming into the 6th round of the Tbilisi Grand Prix. Evgeny Tomashevsky still leads by a point (now with 4.5 points) ahead of five other players. Coming into the round one member of the quintet was Alexander Grischuk, but he has been replaced by Teimour Radjabov, who defeated him speedily in a Najdorf Poisoned Pawn. The other four players are the same: Leinier Dominguez, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Anish Giri and Dmitry Jakovenko.

    Radjabov reintroduced the e5 line into top-level chess about a decade ago, when he crushed Viswanathan Anand with it in a blitz game. Since then there has been an explosion of theory on the variation, but it isn't clear that today's game will open a new chapter. Radjabov's 16.Be2 was a rare move, and in the two previous games to see this Black was doing okay. 16...Nxg3 was played in a comparatively low-level OTB game (the computer claims this is equal) and 16...Qa1+ occurred in a high-level correspondence game, albeit back in 2009. The computer likes the latter move, and Black won both games. If this line has a future, it will be with 16...Qa1+ but not Grischuk's 16...Nc5. White was clearly better after that move, and further errors by Grischuk on moves 18 and 20 sealed his speedy demise. Black resigned on move 24, faced with massive material losses or mate.

    The day's other winner was Peter Svidler, who defeated Dmitry Andreikin with White in a 4.d3 Berlin. Svidler saddled his opponent with a weak queenside structure, and even though Andreikin was probably okay the position wasn't very comfortable to play. Eventually he dropped a pawn on the queenside, and got caught in a catch-22. His king needed to rush to the queenside to deal with the a-pawn, but when it turned into a rook ending it was one that would have been drawn if his king were on the kingside. Cut off on the d-file, it was lost and he soon resigned.

    Round 7 is tomorrow, and Svidler will have Black against Tomashevsky then.

    Saturday
    Oct112014

    A New Svidler Video Series (Updated)

    Chess24 has an improving playing zone and worthwhile news reports, but their biggest attraction is their growing library of video series. The most noteworthy series was by Peter Svidler on the Gruenfeld, but there have been many other interesting ones as well. Still, when a player of Svidler's caliber engages in such a project it's likely to be something special, and that was certainly true of the one on the Gruenfeld.

    Now Svidler has released another opening series, this one offering a White repertoire in the Ruy Lopez with the very trendy 6.d3 (after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7). Nowadays this is considered a more promising way for White to avoid the Marshall Gambit (6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5) than the standard 8th move dodges like 8.a4 and 8.h3, and it has almost become the new main line of the Ruy. Svidler acknowledges that it doesn't seem to promise White an advantage - what does? - but aims to offer White fresh ideas that will at least put the onus on Black (especially if he hasn't already prepared for those them) to solve new problems.

    Svidler has long been a specialist in the Ruy, having played both sides of the opening with great regularity for the past 20 years or so; indeed, he states that he probably knows this opening better than anything else in his repertoire apart from the Gruenfeld. So the series should be a very attractive one to anyone who plays either side of the opening, and also for those who simply want to understand the game better; the Ruy is an extremely rich opening.

    As usual, there are two ways to access the series. One is to buy a premium membership on the site for $135.99 for a year (pricy, but if you like watching chess videos it's a good deal), and the other is to buy the series a la carte for $14.99 - not a bad deal at all. (It would be an even better deal if Chess24 would finally create the downloadable PGN files they've promised since the site's inception, but even without that it's a very good price in comparison to comparable video series across the landscape.)

    UPDATE: As noted in the comments section, there's a third way to access the series, which works for all the other series as well: purchase a one-month membership for $13.99.

    Saturday
    Sep132014

    Peter Svidler Q & A

    Chess24 solicited reader questions for Peter Svidler, which he answered yesterday in-studio. It was supposed to be aired live, but they had some technical troubles and only managed to upload the video later. Here it is.

     

    Sunday
    Jul132014

    More Coming Events: Biel (Monday), Gelfand-Svidler (Next Week)

    In case Dortmund and the ACP Golden Classic aren't enough to keep your interest, two more major events are coming your way. Biel starts Monday - today for some of you, tomorrow for others - and looks quite attractive. The main event is a six-player double round-robin, starring Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Pentala Harikrishna, Alexander Motylev (the graybeard of the event, the 35-year-old Russian is the only player in the event not in his 20s), and women's world champion Hou Yifan.

    The second event is an eight-game rapid match between Boris Gelfand and Peter Svidler, taking place in Jerusalem from July 20-24 (HT: Chess Today). The games will be followed by live video interviews, which is especially welcome with post-mortem world champion Svidler at the helm.

    With the Olympiad starting August 1, this is a great stretch for those who not only like to play but enjoy watching the game as well.

    Tuesday
    May272014

    Karpov, Karpov; Tal, Tal

    Some pleasant recent offerings on Chess24:

    Two pieces on the 12th World Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov. The most recent one has Karpov look back at his unplayed match with Bobby Fischer, offer a short comment about the Magnus Carlsen-Viswanathan Anand match(es) and a recollection of meeting Salvador Dali. The older one offers a transcript of a Russian film that had already been available on YouTube for some time, but now English readers unfamiliar with Russian can enjoy it. It is a documentary of Karpov's training camp before the aforementioned (non-) match with Fischer. Fans of Tigran Petrosian will also want to check this out, to see him play a little blitz and hear his voice (as he's engaged in some mild trash talk with Rafael Vaganian).

    Then it's time for Mikhail Tal, courtesy of Peter Svidler. There's a short interview with Svidler in which he discusses (among other things) his new video series on Tal, which is, I suspect, probably available only to members of the site. If you're a member I think you'll enjoy it, but I wouldn't really recommend signing up if this is your only reason for doing so. (Unless money is no object to you, in which case there are certain bloggers who would appreciate your support.)

    At least two things struck me about the series, which I have watched in its entirety. The first is the strong emotional bond Svidler shows towards Tal, one of deep respect and feeling. The second, somewhat ironically, is a sense in many of the games that his opponents played extraordinarily poorly (at least/certainly by Svidler's standards), to a degree that one almost wonders if there has been rating deflation over the past few decades, at least if ratings are taken to represent objective strength.

    A more modest claim is that they played very poorly (compared with their peers today) in the kinds of complicated positions that Tal created, which may very well be the case. Additionally, our improved skill in such positions today is explained in part by the fact that Tal arrived and forced the world to adapt, and even more by the presence of computers, which have done much to improve players' awareness of tactical resources. Whatever the story, the videos are enjoyable, so watch them if you can.